On his 91st birthday weekend, Pastor Jerry Stenberg shared a wonderful message of God’s goodness and grace. He’s been a pastor for over 65 years! We’ve been blessed to have Jerry and his wife Esther at Saint Luke’s for the past 2 years.
Message preached on August 23rd, 2015, by Pastor Warren Coe. Pastor Warren leads Village Schools of the Bible. If you have not signed up for the Cover-to-Cover class on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30, please consider attending the first two classes to give it a try. The class starts this Thursday, August 27th, at 6:30.
Listen to Message:
Once again, God blessed us with a wonderful week of VBS. It was a delight to watch over 60 children learning God’s word.
Please enjoy watching a slideshow of the week:
“Don’t hit your sister!” “Please, shake his hand.” “Don’t interrupt.” “You need to be kind to him.” As a parent, I am constantly instructing my children in how they are to treat other people. Ultimately, I hope that one day they will not need my teaching as they have learned the core principle of what I’m trying to teach them. I want them to learn to treat people as people.
This entails that all people should be treated with dignity, respect, and value, because every person is made in the image of God. The second half of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12-17) and the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39) both emphasize this truth about people. People are of value and are to be loved.
I don’t think many would disagree with this statement. But if you watch the news or even just read the editorial page in your local paper, you will not see people treated with love as God has called us to. We do not treat people as people because we all break the First Commandment. We put ourselves in the place of God and attempt to say who is worthy of our love and who is not.
However, we don’t phrase it quite that clearly. Two-thousand years ago, in a question to Jesus, a leader from the community worded it like this, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds by telling the parable of the good Samaritan. In this, Jesus makes it clear that in God’s perspective, all people are to be loved (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus did not simply teach this, he also demonstrated this principle in action. Jesus constantly searched out and sought after those whom people had treated as though they were less than a person: the diseased woman, the foreigner, the leper, the prostitute, the criminal. Others said to each of them “you are not a person.” They were not cared for, loved, or seen to have any societal value. From Jesus they each heard the biblical truth, they were made in God’s image and loved by Him.
Love speaks the truth. In seeking our ultimate good, Jesus does not say everyone is okay as is. Although, all people are made in God’s image, this image is broken. We need forgiveness for not loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and for how we treat other people. In true love, Jesus provided this by giving his life for us on the cross. Because of his resurrection, his followers personally know this love which empowers us to share love with all people through our words and deeds.
How do I treat a person who is in need? As a person, concerned with what will happen to him if I do not help.
How do I treat a person who is still in the womb? As a person, not as something less than human.
How do I treat a customer? As a person, not as someone you have no obligation to serve graciously.
How do I treat a person who has a different skin color than I do? As a person.
How should we treat others? Like people. We care for them as God cares for all.
How do I treat people? Treat people as people. No matter how big or small, it makes no difference their culture or ethnicity, treat a person as a person.
God demonstrates His love for all people by giving His one and only Son that no one should perish but have everlasting life.
How can we treat people as less?
The Rev. Aaron Brockmeier is pastor of Saint Luke’s Church. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church at 507-334-6608.
**Originally published at http://www.southernminn.com/faribault_daily_news/article_c504e084-08cd-5357-9b43-01804fb3ac63.html
Have you ever searched long and hard for lint you dropped out of your pocket? How about crawling through your house, searching every nook and cranny, to find a lost Cheerio? I never have; however, I have hunted for hours to find a lost ring. Many times I’ve run rapidly around my yard looking for one of my children who wouldn’t respond to my call to come inside.
We’ve all searched for what was lost that is of value. Flipping off sofa cushions and reaching a hand deep into the gaps to find what was lost. Walking rapidly through a shopping mall with eyes scanning for a young child. The greater worth, the more time and effort we will sacrifice to find what was lost.
God’s Word teaches us that every person is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, every person, no matter his age or her race has inherent value and dignity. And yet, the Bible also teaches us that we are all spiritually lost. Although we were made by God to know Him, we have all gone away from Him. In sin, we have chosen to seek after ourselves, make our own gods, and serve our sinful desires. We are lost.
But we lost sinners are not discarded by God. On the contrary, in the Bible we read that God is pursuing and seeking after those who have rebelled against Him. This mission to rescue us is costly for God. In order to save the lost, God the Father sends His Son to go to the cross and take upon himself our sins. In a mystery we cannot fully fathom, Jesus experiences on the cross what being completely lost entails, total separation from God the Father – hell itself.
The sacrifice fully paid, Jesus rose from the dead, giving us assurance that he is able to fully save the sinner. The lost can be found. Not by our works or our deeds, but through the gift of grace received when we place our faith in Jesus.
Reader, this should help you understand why your friend constantly shares the message of the gospel of Jesus with you. She believes what God says about you, that you are precious and loved. This should explain why Christians have always fought to stop infanticide and abortion and are consistently involved in helping the vulnerable, the homeless, the orphan, the refugee, and the foreigner. We do this because we believe what the Bible teaches, that all people are loved by God and have priceless value.
This is why Christians take risks when we share our faith with our families, communities, and to far off countries, even though this may lead to persecution and death. Christians know God’s great love for all people; therefore, they sacrifice to be used by God so that others who are lost might be found.
Dear reader, even though you are so lost that you cannot bring yourself to God, you are of value and loved so much God the Father sent God the Son as a sacrifice for you to bring you to the one true and living God.
Consider the price of the sacrifice of the God who seeks to find the lost. May it cause you to respond with faith in Jesus.